What is Family Mediation?
To find out all you need to know about family mediation services, read our FAQs below.
Q: What is Family Mediation?
During the family mediation process a professional mediator helps you and your former partner to work out agreements about specific practical issues. These may include:
- Children: this involves where children live and what arrangements exist for them to spend time with both parents.
- Child maintenance payments: provides answers to questions such as who will be obliged to pay whom and what amount.
- Finances: agreeing what you should do with house, pensions, debts and savings when bringing your relationship to an end and separating households.
Q: When would you use Family Mediation?
You can contact a mediator as soon as you require help with settling important family matters. Even if your case has gone to court, mediation can help to mutually resolve issues and can speed up the process.
Often, you cannot take a case to court before exploring the option of mediation first. If you cannot prove you have considered mediation, a judge may delay your case until mediation has been tried or ruled out.
Q: What can you expect at Family Mediation?
- Contact your mediator to arrange a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) where we will be able to discuss your individual needs.
- Attend the MIAM and meet your family mediator. This meeting will enable you to confidentially discuss your case with the family mediator and find out more about the mediation process. You will be asked if you would like your former partner to be contacted to invite them to a MIAM. You can attend a MIAM separately or together.
- The first mediation session can begin once you and your former partner have attended a MIAM, either together or separately. At the first mediation session, a confidentiality agreement will be signed. The ground rules for mediation will also be established and agreed. The mediator will help to create an agenda for the sessions to follow, including all subjects that require discussion and will note any early agreements and commonalities.
- The second mediation session will depend on your specific issues. However, it is generally worth dedicating much of the second session to financial disclosure. You will be asked to bring all relevant financial information to the session including details of any assets and liabilities.
If your mediation is solely to do with children, then the second session will focus on where they will live, who they will see and when, and child maintenance payments. In certain cases the mediator can undertake a child consultation with the parents’ consent.
- Further mediation sessions will vary depending on the issues you need to resolve. Child arrangements, finance and property sessions, and ‘all issues’ mediation are available. At all stages of your mediation, the mediator will document what is discussed and create copies of documents for each party’s records. These will include memoranda, schedules and itineraries amongst others.
- Legal advice may be sought from specialists if this is appropriate for your case. Childrens services, debts, finances and welfare payments may all require an additional professional to help resolve problems. However, they will work in strictest confidence under the agreements set out by your mediator in the MIAM.
Q: Why Mediate instead of Litigate?
Family mediation is a service that is designed to minimise the stress that a marriage breakdown can cause. It is also more affordable than going to to court and takes less time. With mediation, former partners work together to come to an agreement about their issues, including children, finances, property and more. This is a more cooperative and constructive route and means that judges are not making decisions on your behalf at any point in the process.
Q: What outcomes can you expect from Family Mediation?
Family mediation is a process that aims to resolve all major concerns that arise after the break up of a marriage or civil partnership. Typically, a mediator will help you come to an agreement with your former partner about your home and other shared assets, finances, pensions and debts.
Where children are involved, your mediator can assist with parental agreements to ensure the interests of the child or children are met. This includes where a child may live; where and when each partner will see the child or children; and any other special requirements. Overall, family mediation will help to make a stressful time more constructive and will focus on cooperation between former partners.
Q: What are the main advantages of Family Mediation?
- Less stress
- Less conflict
- You have more say in exactly what is agreed
- Flexibility: agreements can be changed if circumstances change
- Can prove to be less upsetting for children and helps to keep family relationships healthy
- Can be quicker and more affordable than going to court